Don't let the new licence law stop you from hiring a car

UK driving licence changes will impact all car hire reservations

From the 8th of June 2015 the paper counterpart of UK licences have no legal validity and will not be accepted as proof of a clean driving record by car hire firms. All penalty points are now stored on the DVLA database. Drivers with the old paper licences are not impacted by the change and cannot destroy them.

A point to remember is that this changeover only affects drivers with DVLA issued licences.

How will the change affect the procedure for renting a vehicle after 8th of June?

Prior to the change, renters had to produce both the photo-card and its counterpart when picking up their vehicles. From the 8th of June, the DVLA will offer access to their brand new system, which is entitled "Share my Driving Licence". Accessing this gives drivers a code that they need to take along with them when they collect their rental vehicles. The code is the renter’s authorisation for the hire company to check his or her driving licence details for penalty points. The company representative uses the code to log on and carry out the check.

Be careful - As the code is only valid for 21 days from the time of issue, renters need to remember not to apply for it too early. It is also a one-time code and drivers are prohibited by the system from generating more than five codes a day.

What you should do

If renting a car is part of your holiday plans for this summer you need to make a few preparations. Some overseas car rental offices are not yet aware of the UK driving licence changes and there are bound to be teething problems at the outset. Language may also be an issue in non-English speaking locations. The steps below will help you prepare:-

How to get your access code

  • Details are included here and all you need to do is follow the instructions to get your Access code.
  • Write your Access Code down and take it along with your photo-card licence to the rental depot.
  • Another option is to print off a hard copy of the code and bring it with you.
    Note! To get an access code you will need:
    a) Drivers Licence number
    b) National Insurance number
    c) current postcode on DVLA records.


Until the system beds itself in, we recommend that hirers contact their rental providers to find out what they want. Not every hire firm asks for the UK licence counterpart, but some do and it is best to be prepared. As noted in the steps above, a hard copy of the code is definitely a practical solution to any queries. The hire firm agent also has the option of calling the DVLA but that works out pretty dear with a premium rate call costing 51p a minute. Time is again a consideration with this service as it is only operational from 08:00 to 19:00 on weekdays and 09:00 to 14:00 on Saturdays. Woe betide the driver who wants to rent a car on a Sunday.

On the 12th of May, the DVLA added an additional option for drivers wishing to obtain a code. It is available by telephone and the number to call is 0300 083 0013. Drivers who still have pre-1998 paper licences can also use this service. The snag with phoning is again the time limitations. Operators only man the service from Monday to Friday between 08:00 and 19:00. On Saturdays, the service shuts down at 14:00. Drivers should only need to phone if they or their hire company can’t get a code.


Drivers with any queries about how the licence transition will impact on their documentation requirements when renting a car should contact the hire firm directly or the DVLA. The hire company’s contact numbers are shown on the rental voucher.

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